Kathryn's Blog: Technology, Academia, and Dating

Tell Your Worst Secrets

I just stumbled across the greatest site: It’s a blog where secrets get posted.  What a great way to deal with something embarrassing in your past: Make a postcard with your secret on it and send it in.  Every week, new ones get posted.  The blogger Frank Warren is an artist and has complied the postcards into book.  See them here on Amazon.

Here’s another, more effortless and less arty way to confess your flaws:  grouphug.us  Here’s another one, though the “confessions” are a bit raw:  onlineconfessional.com

I’ve written quite a bit about secrets, their power to keep us from getting close to someone else, and what to do about that.  You can get a copy of my article “Do You Have a Secret?  How to Tell Your Sweetheart Your Worst” for free by subscribing to my enewsletter *eMAIL to eMATE* or you can buy it at Your Sweetheart Store

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Establish Identity and Background Checking Resources

Trufina.com: Prove you are you with a free Trufina ID Card   Share your Trufina ID anytime you need to prove your identity online

Here’s how the Trufina site says you can use it’s services for online dating.

Intelius.com:  Background Check By Social Security Number
Background Check Includes: Criminal report, sex offender check, lawsuits, judgments, liens, bankruptcies, home value & property ownership, 30 year address history, relatives & associates, neighbors, marriage records, and more.

You can view a sample report by clicking a link on the Intelius site.

The Corra Group  This service does background checks for businesses, but will also do searches for individual uses.

Also, don’t forget to Google your date’s name, or do a search on MySpace, remembering that many people may share the same name.  I just searched my name on MySpace and got five girlie’s, some of them pretty young.

If you live in the Pittsburg, PA, area, you can check out the website maintained by the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Department to catch dead-beat parents.


Get Anonymous Phone Numbers

Via an article on Time.com:

..thanks to Vumber you can get many numbers with only one phone — and even numbers from more desirable area codes. You can be reached at a New York City number one minute and L.A. the next, or small-town Alabama, where you really live. If the person dialing one of the numbers turns out to be a less than desirable caller, poof! the number disappears with a few keystrokes. “You can vanish without a trace,” said Geoff Schneider, executive vice president of Vumber.

Vumber is free for the first 100 minutes, then $4.95 for the first month. then $9.95.  You can also buy packages of minutes, but with the way singles tend to talk on the phone, a monthly plan sounds best to me. 

I have a client who lives in New Jersey but would like to date women in Manhattan.  This could give him a Manhattan phone number, though the cheat wouldn’t work forever.

Match.com offers Matchtalk, which uses Jangl’s technology.  MatchTalk was offered for free, but will soon be a $6.99 per month add-on to a Match.com membership.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


What’s In Store for Internet Dating in 2007?

From my January 1, 2007, *eMAIL to eMATE*:

Internet dating is LOOKING GOOD!

My, how things have changed since I first tried online dating on
Match.com in 1997.  Looking for love on the Net was brandy new
then and quite suspect.  A few brave souls were tip-toeing onto
the sites and trying out the medium, but, land sakes, was it
scary or what?  And no help anywhere.  I know, because I looked.

For you newbies to the Internet dating scene, matters took a
dramatic turn after 9/11.  The tragedy suddenly refocused the
country: Everyone now ached for connection and family.  Singles
started signing up on dating sites by the hundreds of thousands.

Listing on a dating site became okay, even mainstream.  No longer
is it unusual to hear that a couple met online.  Now, your
computer is second only to friends and family as a way to connect
with possible mate candidates.

The influx was heady.  Online dating sites experienced mammoth
growth for several years as folks signed up and plunked down
their credit cards.  Growth has slowed to single digits, but that
does not mean that Internet dating is a fading fad.  Far from it.

Did you know that online dating is one of the top money makers
online? “After nearly a decade of double-digit growth, online
dating revenue rose 7% last year to slightly more than $515
million, per Jupiter Media. (Match’s share is about $250

Remember that there is only a somewhat finite number of singles,
so at some point the growth would have to stop as the percentage
got close to 100.  At present, the estimates are 1/3 of singles
have visited online dating sites.  Also, people come on and off
the sites every day.  Taking your profile down off the dating
site where you and your Sweetie met has become a sign of
increasing commitment with cyber couples.

My buddy Mark Brooks recently posted some interesting info on his
OnlinePersonalsWatch.com blog: Here’s a summary and link to an
article on dating site usage in 2006.
Interestingly, Yahoo! Personals is pulling way ahead of
the crowd in membership and visits.  Since I write for Yahoo!
Personals, I’ll take a little credit for their #1 position.

True.com’s stats are deceptive, as comparing the two charts show.
(I cannot recommend True.com—if you wonder why, look at my
https://find-a-sweetheart.com/blog/C37/ ” title=“many blog posts”>many blog posts:.

Match.com (my personal favorite, since that’s where I met hubby
Drew) is stumbling on in 3rd and 4th place on the two charts.

Another of Mark’s postings led me to
Distilling the verbiage, it looks like number of visits
to dating sites are down, but revenue is nicely up.  To me, that
says daters are getting serious and paying up, and fewer people
are visiting sites to snoop.  Good.

Interestingly, the article also points to what I have sensed:
Singles get busy after Christmas, and particularly after New
Year’s.  Online dating sites’ business soars then (and so does
mine).  Seems as if the loneliness of the holiday coupled with
New Year’s as a time to start new habits gets folks off the

Tip: That means new people are signing up, right now!  This is a
particularly good time of year to be active and looking on your
favorite site.  Remember, new people come on every day—and
others drop off as they find partners.  Be ready with your spick
and span profile.  Be proactive: Contact others.  Don’t wait,
because you don’t know how much longer this new Cutie might be

A third posting on OnlinePersonalsWatch is an interview with
Match.com’s CEO Jim Safka.  Looks like Match is going stylish and
pursuing a more upscale market: a new look to its site (adding
lots of snazzy black), offering a stylist to help with photos
Lots of
black and white there, too.  And Match is piloting a real
matchmaking program with what looks like real matchmakers:
Platinum.Match.com  It’ll probably be
pricey, sounds like perhaps around $1000 per year.  Still less
that a tractional matchmaker, though.

Yahoo! Personals still looks about the same, and I think is a bit
more unwieldy to maneuver than Match.com.  But they are doing
something right at Yahoo!  You can’t argue with #1.

So I will stick with Match.com and Yahoo! Personals.  Why go
elsewhere, except for a special niche site like JDate?  Stay
where the numbers are.

From YOur Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Facts from MIT about Internet Dating Habits

From my October 1, 2006, newsletter, too good not to reprint here:

We really know that Internet dating has made it solidly when
academics start studying it.  What could be more impressive that
MIT’s Sloan School of Management?  Gunter J. Hitsch, Ali
Hortacsu, and Dan Ariely have written “What Makes You Click?—
Mate Preferences and Matching Outcomes in Online Dating,” a
working paper on their study.

At 62 pages long, almost half of which are graphs and charts,
this is not an easy read.  And there are formulas: here’s a short
example— Um(m,w)>- vm(m)  (not written here exactly right, but
you get the idea).

Lucky you: I’ve managed to digest most of it and pull out what is
really interesting, so here goes.  Keep in mind, this study is
reporting on singles’ actual data and behavior—this is not as
things “should be,” but as things “really are.”

The authors used data supplied by an Internet dating company for
22,000 users in the Boston and San Diego area.  While they did
not have access to the actual identities of the users, the
researchers did have just about everything else: Profiles,
photos, and preference data, as well as records of who browsed
who, when and if contact was made and reciprocated or not, and if
a meeting was requested or planned.  Yikes.

Here are some of the conclusions they reached from their well-
massaged data:

Motivation for using the dating service:  Singles interested in a
long term relationship generated the most activity.  While 36% of
men and 39% of women declared that a relationship was what they
were looking for, 55% of all emails sent by men were from this
group, and 52% of all emails sent by women.  Those “just
looking/curious” (26% of men, 27% of women) did 22% of the
mailing (men) and 21% (women).  Only a small percentage of the
email generated was from those seeking casual relationships
or sex: 3.6% for men and 2.8% for women.

The authors thought it was likely that those who indicated they
were “just looking” were actually seriously looking, and
therefore the percentage of emails generated by people looking
seriously was closer to 75%.

Kathryn’s comments:  You can probably assume, at least on the
mainstream sites like Match.com and Yahoo! Personals, that
nowadays, most folks posting are seriously looking for a
relationship.  Sites like AdultFriendFinder.com have siphoned off
most of those just looking for sex, and AshelyMadison.com and the
like have gotten noticed by married folks looking to cheat.

Demographics:  Men dominated the site in both cities: 54.7% in
Boston. 56.1% in San Diego.  Age concentration was in the 26-35
year old range. 2/3’s were never married (sounds right, given the
age concentration).  Education and income levels were slightly
higher than national averages, but about right for Internet
users.  The authors conclude that “during recent years, online
dating has become an accepted and widespread means of partner

Reported physical characteristics:  I love this part.

The site asked users to rate their looks on a subjective scale:
19% of men and 24% of women rated themselves having “very good
looks.”  49% of men and 48% of women described themselves as
“above average.”  29% of men and 26% of women described
themselves as “looking like anyone else walking down the street.”
Less that 1% declared themselves “less than average looks.”  That
means that 78% of the men and 74% of the women were above average
looking, which is either statistically impossible, or the dating
site attracted only the most attractive people.  We do like to
think of ourselves as above average, don’t we?

Women reported they weighed less than the national averages:  6
lbs. less in the 20-29 age group, 18 lbs less in the 30-39 group,
and 20 lbs. less in the 40-49 age group.  Either these women
dieted before going on the site or are fibbing.  Men reported
weights slightly higher than the national averages.

Men’s reported heights were 1.3 inches above national average,
women’s 1 inch above average.

Kathryn’s comments:  Buyer beware! when it comes to an
individual’s self-description of attractiveness and physical
attributes.  People have a real tendency to distort or downright
lie.  Or maybe they really believe that they are “above average,”
whether you do or not.  To do your part, NEVER LIE!  It’s big
trouble.  See my recent blog posting:

Fascinating tidbits:  71% of men’s and 56% of women’s first
emails did not receive a reply.  Men are much more receptive to
first email contacts than women are.  The average man can expect
35% of the average women to respond, where the average woman can
expect 60% of the men she contacts to respond.  The more
attractive men and women are less likely to respond (are
“pickier”).  The least attractive are more likely to write back,
two or three times more likely.

First contacts are usually made by men.  Women receive an average
of 11.4 first emails, and men got 2.3.  56.4% of all men in the
sample did not get any first emails at all, with 21.1% of women
never being approached the first time.

Kathryn’ comments:  This absolutely validates what I have been
telling my women clients: Men like it when you email them
first!!!  Do the picking yourself.  You’ll be much more likely to
get what you want!!!  And remember, a 30% response rate to first
emails is GOOD!

Guys, if you want the contacts from women, be interested in a
long-term relationship.  Men are penalized and receive less
emails if they indicate that they want a casual relationship or
“just sex.”  Women however receive 17% MORE first contacts if
they are looking for casual or sex.

Looks:  Not surprisingly, the better looking folks got the most
emails.  Interestingly, men in the top 5% got about twice as many
contacts from women as the next 5%.  The researchers called this
the “superstar effect” and did not observe it with men’s contacts
of women.

Photos count—and I would add, good photos count even more.
Women with photos got at least twice as many emails, and men got
60% more.

Women like tall men: men 6’3” to 6’4” got 65% more emails than
men 5’7” to 5’8”.  Women are increasingly penalized the taller
they get.

Men prefer skinny women.  Really skinny women.  The researchers
used body mass index (BMI) which adjusts weight for height.  The
most preferred BMI by women in men is 27.  According to the
American Heart Association, a BMI of 27 for men is slightly
overweight.  Men however tended to prefer women with a BMI of
about 17, which is considered underweight and corresponds to the
figure of a super model.  Women tend to feel they look their best
between BMI’s of 20 and 22.  50 year old women at the 50% of
BMI’s would be about 27.

Hair: Men with red hair had a moderate penalty, while women with
“salt and pepper” hair had a large penalty.  Men with “long curly
hair” got 18% less email than men with medium straight hair.

Kathryn’s comments:  The ideal guy?  6’3” tall, very attractive,
slightly overweight, with medium length straight brown hair.  The
ideal woman?  Be between 5’3” and 5’8”, very attractive,
emaciated (How can that thin be attractive???  It would hurt if
you bumped into them.), and have long, straight, blonde hair.
What’s new about that?

Of course, only 15% of men are over six feet tall.  And only
around 10% of women have a BMI of 17 or under.  (Want to
calculate your BMI and see where you stand compared with other
men or women? Go here:
http://www.halls.md/body-mass-index/bmi.htm )  Less that 2% of
the world population has blonde hair.  Those stats cut out lots
and lots of perfectly lovely people.  Are you sure you want to do

Tidbit: You can tell the difference between natural and dyed
blonde hair by exposing it to ultraviolet light (bleached hair
will glow, while natural blonde hair will not).

Income:  Income strongly effects the dating success of men, while
only having a slight effect for women.  In general, the higher a
man’s income, the more first emails he got.

Education and occupations: Women seem to prefer men with similar
educational backgrounds.  They also preferred lawyers, fire
fighters, military, and health related professions.  Women’s
occupations and education had little influence on first email
results.  In fact, most women’s professions did not do as well as

Ethnicity:  Overall, 38% of women and 18% of men stated they
preferred mates of their own ethnicity.  49% of Caucasian women
and 22% of Caucasian men preferred Caucasian mates.  But only 30%
of black women and 8% of black men stated a preference for the
same ethnicity.  The researchers also found that even when the
individual stated that ethnicity did not matter, they behaved as
if it did, showing same ethnicity preference in their email

Kathryn’s comments:
  Guys, if you can make more money, you can
catch up to other men who may be taller or better looking.  The
researchers were actually able to figure out that a man at the
bottom in the looks category could make up for that with an
additional income (on TOP of the assumed $62,500 average) of
$186,000.  A man 5’6” tall needs to make $175,000 MORE that
$62,500 to compete equally with a guy 6 feet tall (assuming
everything else being equal).  Ethnicity is the most expensive
catch-up: for equal success with a white woman, an African-
American man needs $154,000, Hispanic men $77,000, and Asian men

Women cannot compensate for looks or ethnicity with higher
income.  It’s mostly about looks.  Sigh.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Kathryn Interviews Mark Brooks

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I am a regular reader of Mark Brooks’ title=“OnlinePersonalsWatch”>OnlinePersonalsWatch  Mark’s blog is THE resource for the most recent news on the online dating industry.  A few days ago, Mark and I got on the phone and interviewed each other.  Here’s my interview of Mark:

Mark, how did you get started in the online dating business?

I’ve been in the online dating business since 1998.  I started a little club in the Bay Area called, “Ace Club.” I used to sell semi-conductor test equipment.  I moved to the Bay Area but I couldn’t find a club that I was interested in and started Ace Club.  I stuck a poster up in Nose Bagels; people talked and grew to 3,600 members over the course of 1 ½ to 2 years.

Was that really the ground floor for you?

Yes, basically it was a real world social network.  It grew virally and in ’99 I transitioned out of the semi-conductor industry, which wasn’t doing to well at the time anyway and I helped out a friend who was working on a site called Hyper Match and then I went to work for a company called E-Turn.  So Hyper Match was an early version of E-Harmony and E-Turn was an early version of Plaxo. 

I think I remember reading that you’ve also consulted with true.com and Friendster and Friend Finder?

Yes, I actually befriended the fellow who started Friendster back in 2000. I was working for E-Turn and attempting to do some business development with a company called Hot Link, of which Jonathan Abrams was CEO.  I actually met Jonathan Abrams through a mixer.  I used to run this thing called internetmixer.com and I met Jonathan there and also through E-Turn.  I then met Dr. Conrue through my club, so I met both of these men and in 2003. I helped Jonathan with Friendster when he was working out of his apartment. I ran Mark’s List, which was its events list for a little while and did some other stuff. 

It then occurred to me that I wanted to work for a real dating company and Friendster was just a very strange anomaly, plus the piece that I was working on, when Jonathan got funding and the big boys came on board, namely Ram Shruram, Tim Coogle and Pay Pals, Peter Field, they didn’t like my idea too much with the events element.  Looking back on it, I hope they regret it a little.  In some ways the events section, running events, was a little dangerous for them.  Events tend to be very high risk and I don’t blame their decision, they had a lot to focus on at the time. 

I immediately had an opportunity to work for Friend Finder and I took it, a real dating company.  I had great respect for what they achieved, went over to work for Dr. Conrue, got basically my boot camp training.  I ran PR for them and helped run the affiliate program as an Affiliate Manager.  That’s how I got my feet wet in that camp.  I did some media buys and got an idea of how it all worked.  It was actually funny because at the time it was fairly new territory for them as well because they had only done affiliate marketing, so ad buying and PR were completely new for them. 

From there, I worked with the President who left Friend Finder to start dieter.com.  He didn’t need me for about 3 months while he was building the site, so I went to do some work for cupid.com and then decided in January, 2005 to do my own thing and work for a few companies at once and leveraged my experience and did PR, business development and strategic advisement.  In short, I helped online dating and social networking companies make more money and that’s what I’ve done ever since.

I worked for Web Date and True and advised them for a long while, dieter.com and I worked for a few other leading companies now.

I can see why you’ve become one of the voices of the industry because you’ve had such a far ranging experience in a relatively short time.

It’s actually been a fairly long length of time in Internet years. 

When you said 1998, that’s the year I met my husband on Match.com, so I first became aware of Internet dating in 1997 and I’m coming from a user end rather then the developer end like you have.  I’ve just seen amazing changes as you have as well.  I remember the 1997 and 1998 days, very few people even had pictures up.

It’s a whole different world.  I think Friend Finder started in 1996 and before that 1994 was Web Personals and there were a couple of early services.

I’m working on editing an interview I did with a fellow who started an Internet dating service of some sort back in 1966.  He was at Yale and he just started a punch card based system and started Operation Match and the student submitted a questionnaire and in 10 days they would get back 6 matches for $3.00. 

What do you see going on now that concerns you?  I’ve been seeing so much lately about scamming and safety concerns.  Have you noticed that as well?

It’s getting picked up in the press.  It’s always been a concern and it’s always been something that the Internet dating sites have had to fight.  Yes, it’s getting more PR pick up and yes, sites are bigger then ever and expectations are higher then ever.  In short, Internet dating services seek to improve on the real world.  They’ve done that pretty effectively by improving search over flat personals from newspapers and they’ve done that by improving modes of communications, which still need some more improvement. 

I would like to see more services adopting telephony and web cam based dating.  They’ve improved by offering personality profiling, which is a vast improvement over the real world but there is still a lot of improvement that can be made on safety but it’s very tough to do.  You have background checks, which are a very hard edged and not very reliable way of checking up on people.

That’s been my difficulty where true.com is coming from because there are so many holes in that.

Yes, but there’s also soft edged ways of dealing with background checks.  Engage I think has tried to leverage social networks to help people find people through their social networks.  It’s very difficult to make that unison work.  Friend Finder tried it and had a hard time with it, so essentially if you want to try and utilize your social network you go on My Space or Friendster.  But if you’re seeking a relationship it’s a bit more difficult.  You have to wade through all the people that aren’t that interested or motivated to not be single.  You’re dealing with people who may well be single but are not that motivated to jump into a relationship.

Yahoo Personals has done a nice job with their new Premiere that they’ve been doing the last year or so.  Are you aware of that?

I knew they had a Premiere service.

Yes, it’s kind of a second level of their membership. People who are seriously looking, self-identify and you can see them on their profile.  The other thing that it does that they don’t advertise is that everyone who has Premiere has paid so you know they’re a paid member.  I’ve also been getting a sense that we need to do more educating about scamming. I think the traditional advice of meet in a public place and don’t reveal your identity; people need more information then that.

Yes, indeed.  Dr. Phil did an entire show on it recently and it’s actually derogatory toward the industry but necessary to educate users.  The more users who are educated, the less chance scammers will have of causing damage.

What do you see coming in the near future with online dating that singles should be aware of or looking for?

I’m most excited about a couple of thing.  As I mentioned before, the Internet dating industry should and does seek to improve on the real world.  It’s made major improvements back in ’95 it made major improvements over flat, boring, difficult to work with personals in papers by allowing search.  You can say, “I want this” and up pops exactly what you want. So search was the first area that dating site improved on the real world.

Then they improved by allowing you to communicate.  You have someone who is a match and has what you’re looking for but then you have to talk with them.  How do you talk with them?  Email is sort of an elongated conversation and takes a while.  How about instant messaging?  Okay the industry had introduced that but I’m surprised that they haven’t introduced telephony.  It seems a pretty difficult thing for them to introduce effectively.

They’ve tried though didn’t they?

They tried but it failed unfortunately because it’s not been easy enough and they’ve not had enough people who have figured it out, so it’s been a failure.  I’m working with a service called Thumber to introduce a more vastly simplified way for people to connect anonymously, safely and quickly over the phone.  I understand that women like voice better.  Guys like visual but if the reality is that women have a chance to connect over the telephone first they can have an initial gauging of chemistry.  I think it’s very healthy for the industry to let people connect over the telephone early on.

Beyond that I’m very excited about communications, I’m very excited about personality profiling.  I don’t think it’s delivering but I think it will in the future.  It holds great hope for what the likes of E-Harmony and other companies can morph profiling into.  But I think in some ways you have to look at who is standing behind the test and you buy into them and you buy into the methodologies that they have.  Unfortunately, people are not very sophisticated enough to look that deep into the methodologies and sites don’t really put in those methodologies front forward.  So I look forward to sites being a little more open about how they match people and let people buy in.  Perfect Match and True I think are a little more open because they do mention some information on the site but I would like to see a boiled down version.

What I get back from my clients about E-Harmony is that they just don’t understand at all how these people get matched up with them. 

On the one hand it’s not good marketing.  People don’t really want to get into it in some extent but I think in time they’ll become sophisticated and demand to have the option of getting into it and E-Harmony doesn’t offer that option.  They probably will in the future but E-Harmony is very good at converting and retaining people.  I appeal to them to serve the masses a little more effectively that are starting to get more sophisticated and want to see what’s inside the magic box.

Mark is there anything you would like to add?

As regard to my safety and I’m pushing my safety advice these days.  I recommend don’t give out your contact information online.  The vehicle is there for you to communicate and you don’t need to give out your email address, telephone and for goodness sakes don’t give out your home address.  Number one there is no need to give out your contact information, talk online until you feel very warm and fuzzy about the person you’re talking with. 

Secondly, when you do meet up do it in a public place.  Go to a coffee shop have a first 20, 30 or 40 minute date.  A coffee shop is a perfect venue, go somewhere public.

Number three make sure somebody knows where you’re going and have them call into you an hour into the date and it kind of gives you a way to escape the date too.

Thanks, Mark

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


The World Is Becoming a Small Town

I grew up in a small town, and remember the relief of going off to college where practically no one know me.  I could create a new “me” apart from my old history.  Then I went to graduate school in New York City, where I really relished the anonymity.  Rarely did I ever see anyone I knew just on the street.  I loved the privacy. 

Computers and the Internet have given a sense of the privacy of big cities, where no one really knows “you” and you can recreate yourself.  Certainly folks do, and dating sites provide plenty of examples of that creativity, some of which stray pretty far from anything based in reality.  But now, we are moving into an era that feels more small town all the time.  A Google of my own name brings up over 11,000 entries, not all me, but it looks like about 2/3’s ARE me.  I am not hard to find.

A recent article from Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania discusses privacy and the Internet and warns of the dangers of posting pictures and information that could be available nearly forever, for whomever wanted to take a look.  Take for instance the recent Tom Foley scandal.  Here are a couple of examples from that article of inadvertent exposures:

In early September, a web developer took an apparently real advertisement placed online by a woman looking for a sexual liaison and posted it on the Seattle “casual encounters” section of the Craigslist bulletin board, according to press reports. There were 178 responses to the phony sexual solicitation, many of which included compromising photos. The developer then posted all the responses on a public website, including photos, email addresses and other personal information—where anyone could view them.


Then there was the case of a young woman in Seoul who was on a subway train with her pet dog when the animal relieved itself on the floor. The woman did not clean up the mess, angering other riders, and the woman herself reportedly became surly as tensions escalated. Using a camera phone—at 99%, South Korea has the highest camera-phone penetration in the world—a passenger snapped a picture of the woman and the mess her dog had created. The photo, along with language describing what had happened, was posted online and eventually appeared on many sites. Some viewers were able to identify the woman, who became such a pariah that she dropped out of college and went into hiding.


These both point to the real publicness of both public and private behavior.  Do not assume that lies or bad behavior will go unreported and/or unpunished. 

As with small towns, where everyone knowing everything established strong social controls on behavior, new ways of finding out what you don’t want revealed (or tracking down what you DO reveal and wish you hadn’t) are coming out every day.  The good part is that creates pressure for good behavior—truthfulness, kindness, and politeness.  The bad part is that misstep can easily be discovered and plastered all over creation.  Literally. 

So be careful with your online behavior.  Don’t do or say anything you would not want anyone anywhere to know about.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Economics Meets Online Dating

According the the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo! is hiring professional economists, hoping to use their knowledge to boost effectiveness of Yahoo!, including Yahoo! Personals.  How would that work, you ask: Figuring out the price of dates?

No, we are talking about more fundamental than that.  I’ll take out the economic mumbo-jumbo terms out for the sake of clarity, but just a couple of the ideas might translate into services for singles that would ration the number of free messages someone could send, and disclosing how many people a single had already approached.  How would that help? 

Well, a certain proportion of online daters never become paying members, and use the “free” contacts very liberally.  Rationing those would encourage dating site freeloaders to pay up, and would discourage mass emailers from sending out hundreds of emails to only the model-cute folks and jamming their mailboxes.

Disclosing the number of approaches to others someone has made would give information to others that might indicate seriousness of intent and what the likelihood would be that the individual was “playing the field” and communicating with several or many others. 

Economic principles (as I feebly understand them) say that the more information that everyone has in a transaction makes the deal fairer and more able to work.  And if something is relative scarce (in this case, the number of emails you can send for free), the more valued it is and the more carefully you will use it.

Interestingly, when I read this article, I was also just finishing , the first economic book I had ever read.  If you are interested in economics and would like to know more about it in a readable and understandable fashion, Hartford’s book is for you.

From Your Romance Coach,  Kathryn Lord


Become a Moving Billboard

Even though the price of gas makes you think twice about getting in your car, more folks all the time are figuring out that their vehicles can help in the search for love.  After all, buses and trucks are plastered with ads: Why not your car?

I wrote about the site FlirtinginTraffic.com last April and just added another link in the “Comments” section.  And also, here’s a piece about a guy who took matters into his own hands.  He got the idea after women commented on the clown he had seated on the tool box in the back of his truck (a real clown, not a figurative one, and a great idea to get attention—always have something with or around you that folks can use to initiate a conversation if they want too).

He (John Weglicki) got a magnetic sing made for his truck that said “Single and Available. Great Sense of Humor. 6’2”, Size 13 shoe. .”  He’s getting calls. 

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord

BTW, a “vanity plate” gets a lot of comments, too.  I just got my car registered here in Tallahassee and have ordered “4ROMANZ”  Cute, huh?  Great advertising.


Protecting your phone number

Boy oh boy, I just love ingenuity.  Whenever someone figures out a problem, a solution is not far behind.

Going from email to the phone is a natural step for singles meeting online.  I usually suggest using email to get to know each other before moving too fast to the reality of voice and/or face-to-face meeting.  But while caller ID has for the most part been a real boon to our privacy (see my blog piece on obscene phone calls), when we want to protect ourselves when making calls (ie we don’t want our real names connected to a phone number and geographical address), it’s gotten harder. 

While I never use caller ID blocking (I guess I don’t care who knows I am calling), apparently it’s about universal now (in the USA anyway) that you can block your phone number from appearing on your recipient’s caller ID by punching in *67 before dialing your call.  Great, except you need to remember to do it.

(BTW, in the same spirit of protecting your identity and privacy with online dating, always use dating sites that route your emails through their site and strip of electronic identifiers.  Most sites, especially the big ones, offer this service, but be sure to check.  Also, if you regularly use a signature box in your emails [at the bottom of your emails that automaticly gets added with your name and contact information], you need to be VERY CAREFUL that that info does NOT get included in your early communications with possible dates.)

So here are (via mySanAntonio.com) two Internet businesses that are coming up with solutions to the privacy and caller ID problem:  PrivatePhone.com (operational now) and Jangl.com (up for business around the first of 2007).

I went ahead and joined PrivatePhone and tested it out.  Here’s the best part: FREE!  They must start charging at some point, but I sure do like free.  I’ll bet you do too.

1.  Go to PrivatePhone.com and click on the “dating” tab at the bottom.  Then just identify your state, area code and city, and you will be issued your own private phone number.

2.  Easy sign up—just your email address, then pick a sign-in name and password. 

3.  Then you get instructions for setting up your voice mail account.

Callers to your private number get sent right to your voice mail message.  You get notified by email that a call has come in.  You can check your voice mail online or on the phone.

Now, apparently, this solves the problem of the phone number you give out to others.  But it does not solve the problem of you placing calls.  Guess you’ll still have to remember to dial *67 if you want to block your number from showing up.

Jangl.com is not up and running yet, but it looks worth following.  I can’t quite tell from the website what the service will be specifically, but it looks like it will enable you to give out private phone numbers, screen calls, and then arrange another number that both parties call to connect. 

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Foriegn Born and Dating Americans

I have had a number of clients who were born outside of the United States, now living and trying to date in the USA.  Not only do these folks often have the different cultural norms of courtship to figure out, if English is their second language, understanding and being understood can pose major problems.  Even acquired fluency in English still can leave the speaker with a strong accent that makes being understood difficult.  Also, when it comes to finding marriage partners, usually people look for more similarities than differences.  Anything that smooths the bumps helps.

I saw in today’s paper (7/29/06) an article by Dionne Walker of the Associated Press about people and businesses emerging that help such folks sound more “American.”  Also mentioned in the article is the online based service Accent Master  While I can’t vouch for the quality of any of these services, I was surprised to read about the existence of them at all.  If you speak heavily accented English, you might want to check them out.

From Your Romance Coach,
Kathryn Lord


Obligation Free Dating

Caitlin O’Neil wrote in the Boston Globe article “Just Saying No” on May 28, 2006, that Internet dating really freed up her dating, creating an “obligation-free zone” that gave her privacy from friends and family.  While singles still prefer meeting a prospective partner through friends and family, O’Neil correctly puts her finger on a little described facet of dating online: the privacy to succeed - or fail - without an audience. Unsuccessful match-ups and blind dates arranged by people who care mean that they care about the results, and this can cloud your judgement about the date themselves.  If you prefer privacy when negotiating your love life, keep Internet dating in mind when charting your course.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Pivot Girls and Wing Guys

If you live in Boston or New York City and would like some dating help, right in the field, you might want to check out PivotsandWings.com  This sounds like hiring your own best friend, though this person’s job would be to accompany you to places and events and then make YOU look good to potential pick-ups.

When a need is identified, a business will pop up, right?

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Be Careful What You Write

Even though sitting at your computer at home feels safe and private, it’s not.  We’ve all had plenty of warnings about predators and scammers, and I write about that too (see my blog entries about online dating safety).  As well as being careful to watch for dishonesty in others, it is equally important to be honest yourself and be very careful what you put up online for the whole world to see.

DontDateHimGirl.com is being sued by attorney Todd Hollis who apparently is identified by name and bad reports on the site by several women. 

DontDateHimGirl.com has an cute presentation and an interesting model: Women can post anonymously about bad/crooked/lying men.  While some sort of reporting system for bad apples sounds good and reasonable, it doesn’t take too much thinking to figure out how such reporting and sites could be misused.

So warnings on both ends: Keep your behavior clean, respectful and honest or you may end up being reported on for everyone to see.  And be careful what you write, that everyone can see as well.  Think of whatever you post online as becoming part of your resume.  Would you want your prospective employer to see it?  They might: Good old Google is a few keystrokes away. 

BTW, have you googled yourself lately?  Always good to know what would come up if your someone googled you.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Another Tipping Point Coming

A little over a year ago, I wrote about 9/11 being a tipping point (a la Malcolm Gladwell) for Internet dating, when going online for love and romance suddenly came out of the closet and into our living rooms. 

I think we are at another Internet dating tipping point: Going online to find a romantic partner is about to be the #1 option for singles.  Right now, “friends and family” is the only method of meeting a Sweetheart that beats out going online.  And the attitude that I have been hearing and feeling coming around to is “Why WOULDN’T you be listing online? You are crazy if you AREN’T!”

Just as telegraphs and telephone and then email trumped each other as preferred methods of rapid communication, so too online dating.  The access that a good sized site like Yahoo! Personals and Match.com gives an individual to large numbers of interested others, in privacy, is too good not to take first place.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord



“Secrets of the Sexes” is a Must-See

I was so lucky when I got the satellite dish TV system installed here in our new Tallahassee house.  The special deal at the time included a DVD recorder, and I am hooked.  I know, most of you probably have had this technology (like Tivo) for years, but it was all new to me.

I’ve got it set to record all kinds of things so that I always have something interesting to watch when I am in the mood.  My big find this past week has been PBS’s ““Secrets of the Sexes.  I watched the first two parts the other night.  Wow!  Fascinating.

So I did some Googling around about the series (one more left, which will be on next week), and found out that it is a British series that first aired last week.  I went to the BBC site and Bull’s Eye!  Lots of free info, AND tests that you can take that were the type of tests used by the sex researches who took part in the series.

If “Secrets of the Sexes” shows in your area, set your Tivo to record, or if you are behind even me in getting current with DVD recording, try to catch the shows when they air.  If you are at all interested in the scientific reasoning on why people (men. women, and attraction) do what they do, you will get some great info.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


More on High Tech Dating

I do have a cell phone, but I hardly ever use it.  It’s practically an antique.  My step daughter Mishelle gave it to me several years ago when she was ready for a new one.  She’s probably gotten a couple more since. 

So while I am literate on the computer and the Net, I’m getting left behind in the world of text messaging, blackberries and blue teeth.

But those Who Know About Such Things say that such devices (along with instant messaging) are revolutionizing dating.  Text messaging and instant messaging seem to be the current lowest-risk forms of making first, second or third contacts with a potential date.

The lines between dating the “Old Fashioned Way” and the now mainstream Internet dating are getting very blurry.  For lots of folks, email is a great way to get to know someone (as online daters already know), and they give out email adresses instead of phone numbers.  And certainly sending an email is a lot lower risk that phone calling.  One of my clients has been enduring phone calls that go no where with what should have been a blind date but hasn’t gotten that far yet.  She would far prefer to move the conversation online.

With this blurring and razor-thin cutting of the “Me? You? Me and you?” negotiations, it’s gotta be getting much harder to tell what’s a real date.  A friend of mine dreams of some guy calling and asking her on a date.  That seems so old-fashioned these days that it is hard to imagine it happening.  We’ll see.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Giving New Meaning to Traffic Jam

Ben Philips has started a new website (with variations to follow) called www.FlirtinginTraffic.com. If you’ve ever seen a cute someone in another car and wished you could meet, here’s the way to do it.

You register at the site, create a profile (pretty standard up to this point), and then you get a sticker in the mail for your car with a member number on it. Then if you see somebody interesting who has a numbered sticker on THEIR car, then you write it down and send them an email through the site.

Philips is in Pennsylvania, and for now, that’s where most of the members are. But hey, why not? Best of all, for now it’s FREE. That’s a price that can’t be beat. Use it in combination with your listing on one of the big sites like Match or Yahoo! Personals.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Dating and Technology Primer

Okay, I admit it. I am still working on mastering my computer. I have only really used three out of the six technologies listed below. But for your education, here is the latest with the romantic usages.

Mark de la Viña wrote this interesting piece that appeared in the Mercury News on January 29:

Technology in dating: a users manual

BEST USE: Making that initial contact, establishing a rapport before moving onto more immediate forms of communication, such as instant messaging or the phone.
ADVANTAGES: A casual way get to know that potential squeeze. Less intrusive and more secure than communicating via phone.
DISADVANTAGES: As the first form of long-term contact, enables unscrupulous suitors to conceal more about themselves than they could face-to-face. Possible lag time between sending and receiving answer.

Text messaging
BEST USE: Confirming a meeting, sending a quick verbal acknowledgment or flirting with someone across a bar.
ADVANTAGES: Short can be sweet; allows a suitor to craft a message, reducing the risk of a foot in the mouth.
DISADVANTAGES: Minimal information exchanged; sore thumbs.

Instant messaging/ online messenger
BEST USE: Moving beyond e-mailing before a phone conversation seems comfortable.
ADVANTAGES: Getting a better sense of a someone’s personality than with text messaging.
DISADVANTAGES: Having to endure bad grammar and entire text written in upper case.

Palmtop (Treo, BlackBerry, etc.)
BEST USE: Sending and receiving e-mail from remote locations.
ADVANTAGES: Ability to reply to e-mail promptly; always wired.
DISADVANTAGES: You’re always wired, so delays and no responses are harder to excuse.

Cell phone
BEST USE: Stepping up toward an actual date.
ADVANTAGES: Accessibility.
DISADVANTAGES: Accessibility.

BEST USE: Letting someone know you are really interested.
ADVANTAGES: Privacy; no roaming charges, comfort of home.
DISADVANTAGES: Potentially intrusive; they have your home phone number!

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Long Distance Romance? Talk About a DEAL!

WOW! I just read about this great new website Site59.com. Talk about a service for long-distance romances! Whew!

Here’s what it does: It’s like Travelocity (which is going to add a similar feature soon), in that you put in the city you are leaving from and where you would like to go, and then it searches and gives you options. BUT… you can do arrangements for up to four people in two different places, and the trips are short notice! Two weeks or less.

Here’s what happened when I tried it out:

I tried Tallahassee, where I am, and Jackson, Mississippi, the closest airport for Drew. And I picked the weekend before Valentine’s Day. Both our flights (coordinated so that we would arrive and leave Boston about the same time), plus the costs of 3 nights in a nice Boston hotel (Four Points by Sheraton), for $739.10. Total. We could add a car for $87 more. But nobody wants a car in Boston. So we could do a romantic weekend for $370 each. AND…the site automatically calculates how much time you would have together: For the trip I planned, 2 days, 19 hours, and 31 minutes.

Almost makes me want to start dating again.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


DateScreen.com to Screen Dates?

In a good example of “When there’s a need, someone will figure out a way to fill it,” a number of Internet resources are springing up to help online daters check the veracity of who they meet online. True.com’s marketing of the site’s background checks is one example.

Another site has jumped into the fray, DateScreen.com.

From BizJournal:

DateScreen.com is taking the fuss out of online dating with a new software tool. The Houston-based company has developed software designed to work with existing dating homepages to aid in conducting background checks.

“Members have the ability to join multiple sites, manage profiles and check prospective dates for honesty and criminal records before meeting,” says Richard Cobb, CEO of DateScreen.

Cobb adds that more than 35 million people currently utilize online dating services, an industry that has become popular over the last 10 years.

The Web development effort for DateScreen was done by RoadShow Media, a Houston-based Internet media production company.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Where have the Obscene Phone Calls Gone?

When I had a mental health private practice in Tallahassee, Florida, my ad in the Yellow Pages included the line “Alternative Lifestyle Issues.” Gays and lesbians understood the coding to mean that I was a therapist friendly and informed about issues particular to them. But the line also seemed to attract some people from the more fringy edge of the sexual continuum, and I often got what amounted to obscene phone calls, under the guise of these men looking for therapeutic help.

One fellow called a number of times to make and reschedule appointments. He’d put down the phone in the middle of the arrangements and then come back on the line. It always sounded as if there was a washing machine thumping away in the background. Finally I thought to ask “Are you masturbating?” Silence. And then a ghastly “How did you know?”

Those kinds of phone calls, most identifiable by thumping and deep breathing on the other end, have ceased, even though here in Mississippi I still have “Alternative Lifestyle Issues” in my Yellow Pages ad. What’s stopped them?

It’s not that Mississippi has less phone masturbators than Florida. It’s caller ID and answering machines. I don’t know about you, but I virtually NEVER answer the phone when “Private” or “Unknown” comes up on the ID. I use my caller ID all the time to decide who to talk to and what calls can wait until I have finished what I am doing. And do you know what? Those “Privates” and “Unknowns” never leave messages. So an obscene caller has no way of reaching me directly and staying anonymous.

That’s my experience, and I don’t hear of obscene phone calls being a problem with others any more, unless the caller is so stupid or wanting to be caught that they go ahead and talk dirty anyway, even if they know they are being taped or identified. What’s yours?

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


From Kathryn’s “What Will They Think of Next?” Department

I like a lot of Regina Lynn’s writing, and occasionally mention her columns here in my blog, but wowee! Does she go up to the edge and over sometimes, at least as far as I am concern. If there’s anything that makes me feel old and like I am thinking like my mother, it’s Regina.

Now, what Regina writes about in a couple of recent columns (“Online Dating Meets Cybersex” and “Ins and Outs of Teledildonics”) in some senses is good, old-fashioned reporting, this time of new trends with Internet relationships and cybersex, but goodness me, she also tries out the goods and tells us about it. Fan my temples.

(If you are wondering what “teledildonics” means, it’s a word that Regina made up, but is VERY descriptive. Break it down, third graders, to the parts to see what it means: tele-dildo-nics. Get it?)

In these two columns which I will let you read for yourself, Regina reports on the next level of computers and sexuality. Not only can you “do it yourself” with the aid of your PC, you can also do it to someone else. The possibilities boggle the mind.

I read the columns and clicked on the links with more than a little trepidation: What would appear once I pressed? Would I then get a flood of X-rated email? Not yet, but who knows?

Regina attempts to make a case, however weak, for the technology to help couples who are separated (like by the military) be intimate and stay connected. I do find it a bit hard to imagine how guys or gals in a war zone might work out the details and mechanics. The interiors of those tanks are pretty tight. But most likely, I’d guess this stuff will translate into more depersonalization and relationship destruction. Though I am open to what you might have to say. How about it?

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Are Dating Sites Using False Advertising?

I’ve seen talk lately on the Net about whether dating sites are falsely leading clients to believe that by signing up and paying the site’s fee, then they will find a mate and/or get married. There’s even been a lengthy report saying the same.

The problem for dating sites is that it is difficult if not impossible for the site to know what the success rate (pairings or marriages made) of any site might be. How could they? The only way the site is going to know if two people met on their site is if the couple tells them intentionally.

Some people who manage to couple up through a dating site might be happy and proud and unselfconscious enough to tell the site and allow the site to use their names and/or photos for promotion. But I suspect that for many couples, their budding romance is a private thing, and they may just quietly drop offline and continue their lives together. Maybe even not telling anyone at all how they met.

I don’t think that it is unfair of dating sites to show happy couples in the promotion of their sites. In fact, I think it is great how some sites seem to be actually using real live couples who met on that site in the ads (I’m thinking of eHarmony here—eHarmony, I hope those folks are real couples and not models!). I do think a consumer would have to be incredibly naive to think that signing up guarantees the results of marriage.

It’s like the lottery: Ads for lotteries show happy winners, not dejected losers. And your chances with online dating are much better than winning the lottery.

Just keep in mind that the Internet and dating sites are TOOLS, like the telephone. The tool doesn’t do the work, you do—the tool just makes the job easier. Dating sites facilitate singles meeting each other, better than anything anyone has come up with yet. The better you become at using the tool, the better your results will be.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Books for Computer Illiterates

I’ve been writing about how great computers and the Internet are for older folks.  I’d just love to get everyone wired up!  Unfortunately, getting wired does not mean that the individual can actually USE the contraption.  Often, my over-50 clients know enough about cyberspace to check me out online and fire off an email, but not much else.  Once they start Internet dating, the wires can get humming pretty fast, and a lack of skills can make an anxiety-provoking (and exciting) process enough to make you want to tear your hair out.

So I’ve been looking for books that might help.  Here’s the three I currently have come up with:

“The Senior’s Guide to Easy Computing” by Rebecca Sharp Colmer
“Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Computer Basics” by Michael Miller
“The Senior’s Guide to PC Basics” published by Gateway

“The Senior’s Guide to Easy Computing” is basic, very basic.  It’s all in a question and answer format, one to a page.  You can look up terms in the index and find related answers.  The answers are simple and crystal-clear.  But they are not comprehensive—for instance, last night I opened the book while on the phone with a client who did not know how to send an attachment.  I looked up “Attachments” in the index, got one reference, and turned to the page.  The “answer” tells you how to open an attachment, but then goes on for three paragraphs on why you should not open attachments, and then, nothing on how to send one.  Nothing.  And the book has no pictures, which astounds me in a computer book. How can you give good computer lessons—such a visual medium—with no pictures?

“Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Computer Basics” is, from the looks of it, quite complete.  For instance, I looked up “Attachments” here too, and the book gave a short, clear description of how to send a file as an attachment.  The directions do assume the reader knows how to browse and find the wanted file.  So I looked up “browsing” and “finding files” with no luck.  Since the directions for sending attachments were on page 225, I’ll have to trust that the reader would have learned about browsing and file-finding already.  I do prefer a book that you do not have to read from beginning to end to understand one small part.  “Absolute Beginner’s” does have pictures and illustrations of what the author is explaining.  The index is pages and pages long, the longest of these three books.  However, the writing is extensive, detailed, and perhaps too verbose for technophobes.

When I got “The Senior’s Guide to PC Basics,” I was so pleased! Lots and lots of pictures, very colorful, large easy-to-read type, and not too wordy.  It’s published by Gateway, the computer maker, and the first part of the book, about the computer hardware, may or may not be helpful for non-Gateway owners.  The rest however may be just what we are looking for.  Unfortunately,this book does not pass the “Attachments” test—I can’t even find attachments listed in the index. But I do think that this book could teach the adult computer-unschooled user the essentials of getting around the desk top and the Internet.  This book does the job without going on and on.  It’s my current top pick.

I’d like to hear if you have suggestions for the technology naive—any resources online or off that you would recommend?


Getting Older, Getting Online, and Getting It On

I’ve got romance coaching clients all over the age spectrum, from early 20’s, all the way up to early 70’s. For people who have grown up with computers (those a bit younger than I am, for sure: we didn’t even have pocket calculators when I was in college, can you believe it?), using the Internet for your love life makes perfect sense, since every other part of your life can have computer connections, too. But for older folks without the easy familiarity of computers, technology can get in the way of finding other interested singles for company and even love.

Some years ago, I tried to give my parents a computer so that they could communicate easily with their kids and grand kids. Mom and Dad wanted none of it. No place to put it, they said. It’s interesting, isn’t it, how rude refusing to learn computerand Internet skills can seem? For those of us who live lots of our lives online, we can’t imagine life without easy email communication, and when someone doesn’t have a email address, we almost don’t know what to do. It’s the 21st century equivalent of not having a phone.

After my Dad died, I tried again to get my mother interested, this time showing her all the cute guys who were online looking for a honey. No, still not interested. “Who would want a 75 year old woman?” Even showing her men who clearly were was not enough of an enticement.

Well, Mom showed me, because she found a fella on her own, or more precisely, they found each other. They are getting married on April 2 (she’ll have just turned 81), and yes, I’ll put up a picture to prove it. In a neat twist, her honey George (he’s in his mid-80’s) is computer savvy, and we exchange an occasional email. Mom’s best friend up the street, also in her mid-80’s, bought herself a computer, took a course, and now is online too.

If you are 50, 60, 70, or older, or know someone single in that age category, daring to try computers and/or getting sharp in your keyboard and Internet skills with VASTLY open up life and options. More and more people just like you are daring to master PC’s . You’ll be so glad, once you have done it, too.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Technology to the Rescue: Cingular’s “Escape-a-Date”

In the “What will they think of next?” arena, today I read about a new service through Cingular, the cell phone provider, called “Escape-a-Date.” (See Elizabeth Leis’ column for more innovative ways to use electronic gadgetry to help your love life.) I had to dig a little, but apparently, bundled in with some other new-fangled services that I could probably live without, is the ability to have yourself called on your own cell phone at a particular time. Sort of like a wake-up call. Or maybe, if the date is disastrous, more like a bye-bye call.

Evidently, when you answer, an automated voice prompts you with lines for a one-sided conversation that your date can overhear—if you should need an excuse to get out and away.

Whatever happened to and kind “I’ve enjoyed meeting you, but I don’t think we are a match”? Clearly, “Escape-a-Date is only of use to folks who haven’t got the social skills to manage an awkward situation gracefully.

And hasn’t Cingular heard that a ringing—and answered—cell phone in the middle of a date is the height of rudeness?

Note to Internet daters: Take your cell phone for safety, particularly on that first meeting, but turn the ringer off! Or if you have a friend call you to check, tell your date that it is going to happen, and that’s why you are leaving the phone on. Nothing is more charming than to give your date your undivided attention. And nothing is more irritating than to sit while your date chats away to whomever. Am I right or wrong?


Lycos’ New Search Engine for Internet Dating

I’ve seen lots of articles over the past few days about Lycos’ announcement of “DatingSearch,” a search engine that allows singles to browse profiles from multiple dating sites. I’m always looking for helps to finding your Sweetheart, so I’ve been following up the links. I don’t speak techie, but if you do, here are some articles that you might want to take a look at:

What I can speak to is how advantageous (or not) DatingSearch may be to the average online dater. Because I took a look.

The home page has the standard search box on the left, where you specify what you are looking for and where you are located. Hit the search button and up comes profiles that fit your parameters, just like every dating site. Except Dating Search is not a dating site itself—if you click on a profile, you are taken right to the dating site where the profile is actually listed. The dating sites that came up in my search were Tickle, True.com, and iMatchup.com.

Evidently, dating sites have to pay Lycos to have their data base included, and then Lycos also gets paid if you click through one of their profiles and end up on their site. The biggest dating sites like Match.com, YahooPersonals, and eHarmony do not appear to have signed up. Yet.

Internet daters often complain about being overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of profiles that they need to sort through to find promising matches. Lycos’ DatingSearch would simply increase that overload. However, if you want to be sure that you are covering every single single in your area, DatingSearch might be just the tool for you. Don’t forget that once you have found candidates through DatingSearch, then you’ll have to join up to all those different dating sites to communicate to your potential Sweetie. That could get expensive. And that’s why I suggest to my Romance Clients that they join one of the big sites like Match.com or YahooPersonals, and maybe one other site based on a special interest, like religion (JDate is a big favorite) or politics (like RepbulicanSingles or SingleDemocrats). Though you won’t see every single single, you’ll be more efficient with your time and your money.

What do you think? Will DatingSearch help you in your search for love, or simply make your job that much harder?



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